Psalm 77 And Its Interpretation Today Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Essay Paper: #52408978 Related Topics: Church, Holistic, God, Worship
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Psalm 77, demonstrate speaks relevant church culture North America specific. Paper: write a paper a minimum 5 secondary sources.

Psalm 77 is, for many, a psalm that teaches people how to relate to God, particularly when it seems that life is putting forward a significant amount of difficulties for the individual. Psalm 77 comes from the Old Testament, so it is particularly interesting because it is not solely related to Christianity, but rather comes into the present from the very distant past, from the ancient histories of Israel, of Abraham and the Holy Land.

From this perspective, it is all the more interesting and relevant to analyze and look into how Psalm 77 was embraced into American church culture today, given the various religious representations that exist. The Presbyterian Church, the Church of the Latter Day Saints and other churches gave different representations to fit into their religious beliefs and their Church service. This paper aims to look at how Psalm 77 is relevant to church culture in North America, how the Psalm was integrated in every day services and what the relevant aspects relating to Psalm 77 are in relation with church culture in North America today.

This paper will start with an analysis of the Psalm itself. It is of interest here to understand its meaning, its message and its projection beyond the time when it refers to. The final goal of this section of the paper will be to better understand Psalm 77 and to be able to project it into the present, including into church culture in North America today. The analysis will look at how the psalm is incorporated into various church cultures in North America today.

Psalm 77 is an expression of the relationship that exists between faith and history, as reflected in the Old Testament, where the two were inseparable. According to Graham, this is best explained and emphasized in Psalm 77, which illustrates the fact that the believers strongly placed their faith in God. For the purpose of this paper, the underlying connection between believers and God and the intermediary that helped them place their faith in God was the sanctuary, namely God's Church[footnoteRef:1]. [1: Graham, P. Psalm 77: A Study in Faith and History. Restoration Quarterly 18.3 (1975) 151-158]

According to Henry, Psalm 77 follows a traditional structure that other psalms use as well. This includes a first part with complaints and lamentations from the believer, notably related to God, whether God is present in the individual's life and, if so, how to best reach him. The second part and final lines of the Psalms are positive and more encouraging, with the believer finding the appropriate instruments to remain on course and to recognize God's truth, including through the instruments that God has used, such as Moses and Aaron[footnoteRef:2]. [2: Text Commentaries: Matthew Henry (Blue Letter Bible: Psalms)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 6 Apr, 2015. http://www.blueletterbible.orghttps://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Psa/Psa_077.cfm]

One of the most important elements in debate about Psalm 77 is the nature of the individual's lament. Is this an individual lament to God or a lament related to the role of the Church and how the Church is able to connect the individual to God? Moreover, how should the individual best connect to his Church in order to understand its grievances and its interests and embrace them best?

Apparently, all these could seem disrupted and not connected. However, the Church is the quintessential instrument that ties the first ten verses (1-10), where the individual is troubled, lacking confidence in his relationship to God and his hope to link to God, to the last verses (11-20), where the believer finds hope, particularly because he is able to connect to God through previous instances in which God appeared to the individual. The hint is obvious here: God appeared to his people through the Church, which represents the link between the believers and God.

The breakup...

...

The distress that dominates the believer in the first lines is left away by someone who embraces once more the faith that leads him to God and that comforts him in everyday life, particularly in moment one the believer loses faith and is at a loss to understand why things are happening.

The connection between these two is done in a particular verse that ties together the entire psalm and, for the purpose of this paper, the subsequent area of research that will be presented here. It is line 13, which states that "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary, or in holiness." First of all, it is interesting to pointing to the dichotomy that exists here. The way of God is both in the sanctuary and in the holiness. However, it looks almost as if the sanctuary and the holiness are separate conceptions, each elements of the expression of God and each revealing themselves differently to the believer. It looks almost as if the Psalm first mentions the sanctuary, as the way in which God is with his believers, and then reminds the reader that God is actually present throughout, in holiness, which can be more than the sanctuary itself.

Likely, the explanation could be that the fact that "God is in holiness" means that God is in the Church in its entirety. God is holy in all his works, but he can be interpreted in being so through his Church. The acts that God commits are undertaken through his Church, he looks after the people of the Church, here intended to say that he embraces in holiness the believers of the Church. The Church thus links God and believers and it is here that the reader understands the connection between v1 to 10 and v11 to 20.

The connection is the Church. It is in the Church, namely in the holy place (and here the holy place has a combined meaning, namely the physical place of the church, but also the Church as a holistic representation of believers. The Church unites believers and, at the same time, through its ministers and priests, acts as a connection with God, receiving His guidance and applying it, in turn, to those on the ground.

The sanctuary or the holy place remains essential to understanding God and this is one of the messages of the Psalm and, given the topic of the research, one of the topics it will focus on. God's way is in "the sea," as the Psalm mentions in verse 19, so God's holiness can be understood and embraced in His church, the place of sanctuary, the place of belief and worship.

It is interesting to note in this interpretation of Psalm 77 that Verse 13 is often debated as to what the word sanctuary actually refers to. Some have pointed to the idea of temple, others, as Calvin, have discussed the fact that sanctuary actually refers to the idea of Heaven. The explanation likely rather has to look at the entire verse, including the fact that God's way is in the sanctuary as opposed to in the sea, in verse 19. There is a clear opposition here that place in an antithesis God's way in the Church and his presence in the sea[footnoteRef:3]. [3: Spurgeon, Ch The Treasury of David. Accessed 6 Apr, 2015. http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps077.htm#expl. ]

The Church here or the sanctuary, expresses God's light and the fact that all is clear in the sanctuary. God's message, in particular, is clear in the sanctuary, where he unveils Himself to the believers in a way that he does not do (and that is not possible) in the sea. The sanctuary is actually the clear channel of communication for God, who is able to put forward his message in a way that is understandable and clear for the believers[footnoteRef:4]. [4: Spurgeon, Ch The Treasury of David. Accessed 6 Apr, 2015. http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps077.htm#expl. ]

This presentation is useful as a starting point in understanding how Psalm 77 integrates into church culture today in the United States and in North America in general. Hiebert and his analysis is an excellent starting point for this. Hiebert looks at a more complex perspective, namely at the sociological and cultural themes that characterize a postmodern society today. First of all, he points to the apologetic and evangelistic nature of the Psalms, characteristic of the conditions, particularly social, historical and theological during the times of the Old Testament.

Second, Psalm 77, like all other psalms, despite the intrinsic relationship God-Church, which has previously been presented, also look at the individual relationship between the believer and God. There is a distinct need for this type of relationship, since this is God's desire but also one of the characteristics and necessities of the modern world.

The challenges of churches today in North America is exactly this: how to bridge the need to bring believers to Church, within the sanctuary and the house of God, with the need to also have an…

Sources Used in Documents:

The challenges of churches today in North America is exactly this: how to bridge the need to bring believers to Church, within the sanctuary and the house of God, with the need to also have an individual closeness between God and believers, to give the individuals faith that they are properly able to connect with God, sometimes even without the intervention of the Church[footnoteRef:5]. [5: Hiebert, P. The Missiological Implications of Epistemological Shifts: Affirming Truth in a Modern/Postmodern World (Christian Mission & Modern Culture). Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 1 edition (January 1, 1999)]

Churches in North America today have identified diverse solutions to this challenge. On one hand, many have found new ways of communication that they successfully employ in their work. Beyond having the people in the sanctuary, they are sometimes ready to enact their message through other means of communication that often entitles the believer to remain at home, within his own "sanctuary."

At the same time, the churches in North America today have also embraced a strong strategy to reach out to believers. Benefiting from new media and from various forms of virtual interaction (TV, the Internet, the radio etc.), churches in North America were able to successfully employ these new methods in order to re-confirm their role as an intermediary between the believers and God.


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